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Massachusetts Lawmakers Agree to Legalize Sports Betting

Massachusetts is poised to become the 31st state to legalize sports betting once Governor Charlie Baker signs the bill.

The Massachusetts Sports Betting Conference Committee reached an agreement early Monday morning that would legalize betting on collegiate and professional sports in the state.

Speaker Ron Mariano tweeted the news at 5:10 a.m. and said he’s proud of the agreement that will bring the “immense economic benefits of a legal sports betting industry” to Massachusetts. Mariano thanked other lawmakers in his tweet, as well as his colleagues in the Senate for “recognizing the incredible economic opportunity that legalized sports betting presents.”

The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Charlie Baker—he has 10 days to sign it into law or reject it.

According to CBS Boston’s Jon Keller, sports betting in the state could be in place in a matter of weeks. That time frame is of great importance with the college football season beginning later this month, Aug. 27, and the NFL season kicking off Sep. 7.

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Anyone 21 years of age and older will be able to bet in Massachusetts under the law with a 15% tax on in-person wagers and 20% on mobile bets, according to CBS Boston. The application fee for casinos, slot parlors and race tracks to acquire a sports betting license is $5 million and there will also be seven mobile betting platform licenses up for grabs.

Betting on Massachusetts colleges and universities will not be allowed with the exception being competition in a postseason tournament, such as March Madness.

Sports betting is already legal in 30 states and Washington D.C., so Massachusetts could become the 31st state to legalize the industry. Statistics from June show New York’s reported sports betting handle led the country, surpassing $1 billion again.

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